Disagreements Over Financial Support for Adult Children in Orlando Divorce
Even when you are generally happily married, disagreements about parent-child relationships can lead to hurt feelings. It is easy for your spouse to vent jealousy by taking cheap shots about you trying to turn your child into a mama’s boy or a daddy’s girl.
Then there are the disagreements about specific incidents and issues. What is the right age for a child to get a cell phone? What should you do to help a child who is being bullied at school?
Should you cook separate meals for a ninth-grader who has just turned vegetarian or make it the teen’s responsibility to cook his or her own meals?
Many of these problems are self-limiting; once your children turn 18, they have the right to make their own choices about most matters, even if one or both parents disagree with them. You and your spouse might not see eye to eye on how much financial support to give your children after they grow up. After your divorce is final, you do not need your ex-spouse’s permission to give your adult son or daughter money to pay down student loans or make a down payment on a house. You do have to give the court details about your expenses while your divorce is pending, though, especially if you are seeking alimony.
An Orlando Florida divorce lawyer can help you get an equitable division of marital property that will make it possible for you to continue offering financial help to your adult children.
When Your Adult Children Still Rely on You for Financial Support
If your children are already grown when you get divorced, and you and your spouse still support them, the court will take these expenses into account in determining equitable distribution. It will, however, consider them discretionary spending; paying your daughter’s college tuition at an out-of-state private university is not a basic survival need any more than paying membership dues at a country club is.
If you and your spouse have borrowed money to help your children pay for college, the court will consider the amount you borrowed as a marital debt. For example, Susan Einspar and Matthew Wayne each separately took out loans to pay for their young adult son’s expenses before their divorce, and the court had to divide these debts in an equitable way, which did not match up exactly with which parent’s name was on the loan agreement.
If your adult son or daughter will need financial support from you long-term, for example, because of a disability, then the money you and your spouse spend on him or her is not a discretionary expense. In this case, this money is even more important and potentially even more controversial. If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on how much money to spend on your son or daughter, the court will have to decide. This is what happened with the parents of Amy Harper, a young woman with intellectual disabilities; her divorced parents disagreed about how much her father should pay to support her after she reached adulthood. Her mother wanted Amy’s father to pay for her to go to a boarding school out of state for young adults with special needs, but her father wanted Amy to support herself by working full-time at a minimum wage job. Since neither parent’s plan was feasible, the judge had to decide on a reasonable plan of support for Amy.
Tip: see what to do if your ex refuses to pay child support.
Contact Sean Smallwood About Divorce Cases In Orlando, FL
A divorce lawyer can defend you if your spouse is requesting additional alimony to help support adult children who are capable of financially supporting themselves or borrowing money in their own names. Contact Sean Smallwood in Orlando, Florida for a consultation.
Sean Smallwood is an Orlando divorce attorney for the law firm Sean Smallwood, Orlando Divorce & Family Law P.A. where he represents clients in all areas of family law and divorce. 100% of the practice is devoted to family law. As an attorney in Orlando, he has helped many families with a wide variety of family law cases including Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, and many other issues.